Saturday, February 23, 2013

Prediction circuits and mindblindness

One core characteristic of Asperger's (though not specifically referred to in the DSM) is problems with theory of mind, or mindblindness.  I think there are multiple different brain mechanisms that can lead to mindblindness.  Problems with the brain's prediction circuits is one of them.

Prediction circuits in our brain are key to our ability to learn.  When what our brain senses is different from what is predicted, our brain learns based on the difference.  Neuroscience has shown that prediction circuits are involved in vision and in motor skills.  I believe they are also involved in social learning.  When we interact with other people, the brain predicts how people will react, and can learn when people react differently than we subconsciously expect.

In addition to impairments in social interaction, which is one of the DSM  diagnostic criteria for Asperger's, many Aspies have impairments in motor coordination.  If the brain's prediction circuits have problems, then it could explain the Aspies that are clumsy both socially and physically.  Impairments in motor coordination is not one of the DSM diagnostic criteria for Asperger's, and many Aspies (like me) have the social impairments without the motor impairments.  In such cases, we need to look more specifically at how socialization works in the brain.  That will be the topic of my next post.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ralph.

    This was a good read.

    So far I have finished reading two books about Asperger's Syndrome, "Look Me in the Eye: My Life With Asperger's Syndrome" and "Can I Tell You About Asperger's Syndrome? Now I am reading, "The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome" and all three books have a degree of familiarity for me for sure. The first two held my interest the most, but all are a learning experience.

    Thanks for sharing son. Love & hugs, Mom